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Poll: Labor costs too high or just fine?
Too high
Reasonable
 
 
Bike shop labor charges
#1
I was searching some used bike sales and saw a mid 80's Bottecchia (mid range model). Seller (very unknowledgeable) thought it was a goldmine (I assumed he got it fairly cheap, stated as a "barn find"), and detailed the palmarès of the marque shown on the frame decals. I know this model was not part of that history, and this is a common practice to boast of past achievements and slap decals doing so on all models; otherwise I have many "champion/campione" frames. Given this assumption the seller had the bike serviced and put up for sale at $1295 (more than double its general value given the model and components). After months of no sale it is now available for $595 (he is getting closer to real value).
The problem arises for the seller from the fact he spent $225 on service and parts (great for the new potential owner) and now stands to only make $370 max profit on a bike worth about that price at the start before really needing much if any service. No problem, seller wanted to provide a properly functioning bike to a new owner without issues; perfect!
My question is this: are the itemized labor charges (not parts) reasonable? I find the total labor at least one and a half times over cost for the work done and the time it would take a shop to perform on a bike in decent shape in the first place. I am not a bike mechanic, but I find $15 for basic front derailleur service (adjust hi/low screws, cable slack) to be outrageous. I can do that work in less than 5 minutes without rushing the job, and I do not do it as a profession.
I am providing a copy of the receipt (the seller did in their ad, I assume to justify cost and prove new parts added and work done).
Please provide your opinion if you think service costs are reasonable or too high (total labor $110).


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Howard
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#2
Some shops charge by the hour, rated at like 25~35 bucks (engineers pay).
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#3
(09-16-2021, 06:26 PM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Some shops charge by the hour, rated at like 25~35 bucks (engineers pay).

I certainly understand hourly charges after having run a brick and mortar shop (sales and service) myself. There are many expenses to cover; I believe I had about 12 different local, State, and Federal taxes and fees to pay on a monthly to yearly basis, not including workers comp. and business insurance. I determined my charges based on volume of service which was hard to do as a start-up, but you have to be competitive right at that the start so always tried to give a better rate than those established businesses in the same market; in the end I only raised my charges up $5 an hour after 5 years (still beating the competition).
For the work described on the receipt (no bearing overhauls) it seems that the individual was taken for a ride. I have done all of that work on multiple bikes of the same style and it would not take me over an hour and a half (more like an hour); the most time consuming would be the bar wrap since I seem to end up doing it twice after not being satisfied with the first attempt.
I would have no problem paying $30-$35 for that work, and I doubt that I would cringe at $50; but over $100 to me seems like a joke. If I knew what shop it was I would contact them and ask a few questions regarding their charges. When getting a bunch of minor work done (very basic "tune-up") it should be a package deal, especially with the shop getting another $100 in parts sales. The last person asking me to do that type of work was given a $25 estimate plus parts; but I have no overhead except a quality beer.

One note about the bike: I have the same bike purchased about 5 or 6 years ago for $190; entry level Campy 980 mechs, Modolo Corsa brake set, OFMEGA Mundial crankset, etc. Columbus "Aelle" frame. Certainly with new tires, chain, and bar wrap I would have no problem going another $100; but getting over $400 will be hard except to the uninitiated. I expect to see that bike on sale for a while until the price drops under $500 which will be a hard pill for the seller to swallow after his parts and service expenditure.
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Howard
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#4
Big Grin I fix my own bikes for free.

Only things I need from the shops are technical or aesthetic.
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#5
(09-16-2021, 10:07 PM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Big Grin I fix my own bikes for free.

Only things I need from the shops are technical or aesthetic.

I also work on my bikes, autos, motorbikes, etc.; but most folks, even those with the know how, have the work done for them. That still does not make it right to overcharge for extremely basic service taking a minimum of time to complete. Granted there are always extenuating circumstances, but I am speaking of the general mean.

By the way my engineering rates are $50-$100/hr; but there is a very high overhead and liability insurance factor involved. Even then I am regularly the low bidder on a contract being a one man operation.
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Howard
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#6
I would be happy to remove your old chain and install a new chain for $15. Works out to about $75/hour labor charge and I do not need a college education to learn how to do it. I am in the wrong game! Plus I made a profit selling you a new chain.
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Howard
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#7
so it adds up to $110 for labor, hmm. @Criminal in your opinion (estimated or educated guess), how much time did it take the mechanic to complete those nine tasks? I believe I have seen a guy complete both derailleur adjustment, both tire repair or change, and both brake adjustment within half an hour ...
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#8
Angel Support your local bike shop
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#9
(09-20-2021, 03:03 PM)Papa Dom Wrote:  so it adds up to $110 for labor, hmm. @Criminal in your opinion (estimated or educated guess), how much time did it take the mechanic to complete those nine tasks? I believe I have seen a guy complete both derailleur adjustment, both tire repair or change, and both brake adjustment within half an hour ...

I would say that you are about spot on considering it was in a shop and presumably the proper tools were readily available (they are at my co-op), but I would even allow for 45 mins tops just in case there was cause for delay. I know myself doing the work on both derailleurs is about 5 mins. total; brakes maybe 5-10 mins. if finicky; tire and tube change 10-15 mins.; bar wrap for me (because I take a bit of time) one shot completed 5-10 mins.; chain removal/replacement 5 mins w/o master link (less with master link). So 30-45 mins. if I did that work on that particular bike (1980's Italian racer). If it took me an hour then I stopped to use the restroom and have a cold beer.

I do support my local bike shops, but I have not used them for maintenance in decades; only parts purchases. Many do not even know how to work on a Sturmey-Archer hub so that is often a lost cause; also many do not have the older tools required to do some maintenance (Maillard helicomatic tool for example) on earlier components.
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Howard
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